Prophecy Mechanic

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We all examine our lives through our memories, but few can express a life of memories as beautifully as Chad Sokolovsky has been able to do in this slim volume of stunning, and sometimes stark, poems. Each is imbued with freshness of language and metaphors that reach inside readers and tweak memories awake that have long been in hibernation. With lines like “We dribbled puberty down our chins . . .” or “The night was as suffocating / as being smothered in grandma’s / cardigan and that dreaded goodbye kiss / drenched in witch hazel . . .” stir every sense and elicit responses that are often visceral. Humor is a tool often overlooked in contemporary poetry, but Sokolovsky has a firm hold on the absurdities found when growing up, when one is part of a family, when finding one’s own religion, and even when facing the aging of loved ones. Underlying much of the poet’s examination of everyday life, there is a certain irreverence that allows any reader access to his work, rather than being in any way off-putting as poetry sometimes can be. These free-verse poems read as easily as excellent prose does, which, hopefully, will encourage those who suffer from metrophobia to give poetry a try.

Sokolovsky has chosen to break his poems into five chapters of his life, and even the titles of those sections, such as Superheroes Don’t Eat Carob Chips and Post-Grammatical Stress Disorder, are clever and telling and will draw readers in with their promise. The titles of the individual poems also often hold real promise for the reader. Imagine where he is going with titles like “I Frequently Have Existential Crises on Days Like This” and “The Autobiographical Director in My Head.” A reader simply has to dive into those poems, and the reader will not be disappointed, whether he or she is a metrophobe or an aesthete. Sokolovsky has a deft hand using many poetic devices to mold his messages, but his mastery of metaphors is unparalleled. “. …feeling as mundane as a Tuesday / in a month with no holidays . . .” will leave readers with no doubt what he is expressing. He lays bare some of his own philosophies in this work, whether writing about subjects such as sex or parenting or religion or aging. But perhaps it is strongest when he examines his own chosen field of writing. “ . . . we should be writing poetry instead of prayers, sacrificing metaphors instead of martyrs, because we can / make this world so beautiful / if we stop waiting for / someone else to do it for us.” He has already made it more beautiful with this lovely collection.

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Author Chad Sokolovsky
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 115 pages
Publisher Quercus Review Press
Publish Date 2017-Sep-03
ISBN 9780692922539
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Poetry & Short Stories
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